Behind The Scenes

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Jamie Foxx, one of the voice stars of Rio, the most colorful upcoming animated movie, literally and metaphorically, says it has messages which resonate in life. “Whatever it is you want to do, you go and do it.”

Brazilian director Carlos Saldanha would certainly concur. Born in Rio de Janeiro he quickly ascended the Hollywood animated ranks and has helmed all three Ice Age films as director. Rio, naturally, takes him to sunnier climes, his own, which he’s thrilled about. So is Brazilian music legend and fellow hometown son Sergio Mendes, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Mendes on the “Blu” carpet sneak peek event in LA in January. “I was honored,” he said of being asked to provide a characteristically exotic soundtrack to the tale of two rare blue macaws whose love affair burns languidly and hilariously against the most stunningly picturesque 3D-animated scenery yet seen.

The macaws, Jewel and Blu, are voiced by Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg. Supporting cast players Jamie Foxx and George Lopez are a womanizing canary and a helpful toucan. The macaw match-up was not, noted Hathaway, the first time she and Eisenberg had been on screen together. “For those of you that are avid IMDB-surfers, Jesse and I played brother and sister on a Fox television series in 1999 called Get Real. I was his older sister! So I’m very happy for all of his success."

Hathaway and Eisenberg have both provided animated voices previously. “It’s always been such an honor. I did The Simpsons and now this!” says this year’s Academy Awards co-host. “I’m so lucky.” Amazingly, Foxx - as noted for his music as his acting - had never given only voice to a character on the big screen, and says it was harder than he anticipated. “You actually have to get the voice right, which I felt was the greatest challenge. After that, just seeing parts of the film for the first time blows you away. A lot of times, as a parent, you go to animated films and think, 'It’s going to be dumbed down, for the kids’. But this, right here, is really, ‘WOW!' It's got the wow factor.”

LA’s recent preview audiences fell hard for the film’s assorted wow factors - color which trips off the screen, an eco-themed backdrop and story line, endearing eclectic characters in a classic fairy story with clever nuances galore and oh, the music. sings and gives voice to a scene-stealing character. Tracy Morgan is a drooling bulldog and Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement - who just might steal the whole film as an older, wiser, scene-stealing white cockatoo.

“This man can get me to do anything,” jokes Hathaway of Saldanha. “Every time I saw him he would show me more footage and it was just breathtaking. So when he asks, 'So now, can you SING?’ you can’t say anything but ‘Yes!’ But singing in front of Sergio and Well I'm sure you can imagine. That morning I had an extra cup of coffee to steel my nerves." Lopez, too, sang. "I’m not going to let them all sing and me just sit there with a big nose, flying around. How did I sing?" Saldanha: “Beautifully!”

Rio’s most challenging aspect for Saldanha amidst ever-evolving animation technology? "Feathers. How the feathers would perform was very difficult." He sighs, a little like an exasperated father with myriad charges in his care. "It's just a complex movie in terms of scale!"

But not in terms of heart, concludes Hathaway. "I think it says that the only thing in life that you really have to worry about is how you treat other people. If you mess up and treat someone else badly, you apologize and don’t apologize for anything else. Be yourself and go for it.

"Life can be hard but break down what you want into achievable goals. You’ll wind up achieving more than you ever thought you could."

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About The Author

Ami Goldwasser is the author of this article. The author has described the movie "Rio" very well in his write ups. For more information about this movie visit our face-book page. RIO Movie UAE

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